My current work in progress:

Seaforth designed by Alice Starmore, knit in British Breeds 5-ply Guernsey Wool on US 3 needles.


Insomnia. It’s a Good Thing.

Bad for one’s general health, but good for the knitting progress. Witness:


I have made some good progress, I think. (P.S. I don’t drink coffee during the week. Only diet cola, and only before noon.)

But L-B has made some good progress as well. She reported in the comments that she knitted two-thirds of a sleeve on Monday!!

By the way, it is perfectly acceptable — nay, encouraged — to cheer for both of us.

It is, however, not acceptable to try to convince Lucy that she should try to sabotage my knitting. She is on my payroll and knows on which side her Fancy Feast is buttered. Is this the face of a pushover?


Also by the way, I did use a long-tail cast-on for Inishmore.

While insomnia may be good for progress, a good memory is even better.

I might have mentioned before that I have a photographic memory about certain things. Knitting charts is one of those things.

Sadly, my memory is very selective. And my short term memory is worthless. I can’t remember the name of someone to whom I was just introduced, nor can I remember if I turned the lights off before I left home.

So, we go with our strengths.

Now, the charts for Inishmore look very daunting. But if you break them down into logical parts, you can breeze through them. Well, perhaps not breeze through them, but make things a bit easier.

The number of rows in one repeat of the largest elements is evenly divisible by the number of rows in each of the smaller elements. How I love it when the universe is in harmony.

Most aran patterns work this way. If the largest motif is, say, 24 rows per repeat, the smaller motifs will be 12, 8, 6, or 4 rows per repeat. So that after you complete the largest motif, you will not be in the middle of any of the smaller motifs.

Very rarely do I run into an Aran pattern that doesn’t work this way. When I do, I find it annoying.

Inishmore works.

The large zig-zag patterns are logical and symmetrical. Basically, all you have to remember is a couple of things — how the twists work, and when pattern reaches its widest point you have to reverse what you are doing to bring it back down to its narrowest point.

And cable twists? all you really need to do is remember on what row you have to do shaping and twists.

As easy as pie, right?

I mentioned that the pattern is symmetrical. The sleeves are mirror images of each other.

The last time I knitted Inishmore, I discovered when I was more than halfway done with the second sleeve that I had knitted the same pattern as the first sleeve, instead of reversing the large motif like I was supposed to. I had to rip the sucker down to the cuff. The whole time cursing myself for being such an Inish-moron.

Hopefully I won’t do the same thing this time. (L-B, I can hear what you are thinking.)

KIPping Yarns

I’ll be at Knit Happens tomorrow (Wednesday May 18th) around 5-7pm, madly knitting on Inishmore. Yeah, you can point and giggle, but if you are within needle’s reach, I reserve the right to stab.

Oh, and I made a page for the Aurora top and slapped the photo up there. The photo is kinda wonky looking but the sweater is quite nice.


  1. Wow, your progress is amazing! Way to go! I wish I could knit so much in a sitting but I’m afraid the tennis elbow in both my arms doesn’t allow me to anymore. Very cool sweater so far. Go L-B and Wendy!

  2. Aurora has boobs!

    It’s the shading effect of the colourway. I would have loved this in my flat-chested days.

    I in love with Mahi-Mahi, btw, and I’m not even fond of pink.

  3. wow that is gonna be one gorgeous sweater!
    I have to agree that when the *math*
    doesn’t work on a chart,
    I don’t like it, not one little bit.
    Perhaps then, with your
    EXCELLENT description,
    I shall brave Inishmore this year
    when it turns a little cooler…
    of course it will probably take me all WINTER
    to knit a sleeve…

  4. I am stunned into silence with your speed. Enjoy it. While it lasts. My silence, that is.

  5. Unbelieveable! You are totally amazing! And that cat, I just love those eyes. Have fun with your race with LB – I wish you both fast knitting and no mistakes!

  6. Woo hoo! Excellent progress! P.S. No stabbing tomorrow night! Must save all your energy for knitting! Well, ok, as long as you’re not stabbing me…

  7. Susan Maurer says:

    Holy Tamoly! I can’t BELIEVE your progress. You go girl! Go go go! I was thinking today that probably my estimate of your finish date was too soon, but no more! Wow! It’s even better lookin’ in green than the last photo (Well, Duh, it should be better lookin’, there’s more of it to see). Soooo, do we see you modeling the garment, say, oh… Thursday? Friday? ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. All I have to do is say to myself “Inishmore grudge match” and it makes me giggle. It’s one of the best things for a bad mood that I’ve heard in a long time. Heh.

  9. I’m going to be at Knit Happens next Wednesday for a bit, and I’m sort of wondering if I’ll see a finished Inishmore there. Egads, you’re a fast knitter. It’d take me two weeks to get that much done…

  10. Is it wrong that I’m getting addicted to this grudge match? This is more exciting than golf! (I mean, obv, when Tiger is playing…)

  11. You knit THAT much in one night?! That’s really fast. I can’t wait to see L-B’s progress, too. The suspense is killing me! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Stab all you like, Wendy; I won’t be there! Heh Heh….

    *Love* today’s pic of Lucy!

  12. …except for Lee Witchel’s PUZZLE BOX ARAN (Knitter’s magazine #48…Fall ’97)!!!

    You wrote: The number of rows in one repeat of the largest elements is evenly divisible by the number of rows in each of the smaller elements….Most aran patterns work this way. If the largest motif is, say, 24 rows per repeat, the smaller motifs will be 12, 8, 6, or 4 rows per repeat. So that after you complete the largest motif, you will not be in the middle of any of the smaller motifs.

  13. hahaha … you are always so funny! Lucy looked so perfectly innocent in that shot …

  14. That’s what I like about the “favorite Scottish Designer.” The patterns are like a grand harmonic convergence of texture.
    Splendid knitting,

  15. I have been a reader for a long time but I think it’s the first time I’ve posted. I just had to cheer you on with your sweater–you’re amazing ๐Ÿ™‚ Insomnia is great isn’t it(sometimes)–I get a lot of knitting done once everyone is asleep. Lucy is so sweet–I have two tonkinese and Lucy looks like a long haired version of my female. Happy knitting; I look forward to your next progress pic!

  16. So, a question for an expert: what goes into speed in knitting?? Obviously, time & dedication – you’ve been knitting for how many hours a day for how many years? And technique affects speed. What other factors come into play? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

    Cath (and Mittens, who’s getting better behaved around yarn – it’s been 2 months since she’s destroyed any of my knitting)

  17. Lord, there has to be some fire or at least smoke coming off the ends of ya’lls needles (you AND L-B). Course you knit on circs so maybe that prevents any burning action. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  18. Holy Mackeral! If I could knit cables that fast, I’d make them all the time. It’s looking awesome!

  19. My goodness, you girls are zooming along. Wendy, your work is gorgeous. I am green with envy. I wish I could knit as fast as you do. You all are an inspiration. Keep it up!

  20. Houston, we have an Inishmore sleeve,completed with shoulder saddle! But I did say may the best insomniac win and I’ve been getting my sleep! ๐Ÿ˜‰ Perhaps I’ll pull out from behind when Wendy crashes from sleep deprivation! Hee Hee! Thanks to a great coworker and friend (Hi, Margaret Gilman!),I’ll be able to start sending pictures to Wendy today! Knit on!

  21. I think that is my favorite pic yet of Lucy! See ya at KH!

  22. That is some serious progress, there. Sometimes insomnia is good! ๐Ÿ™‚

  23. Has anyone else noticed that Lucy’s right forepaw has been hidden this week? Is it possible that Wendy had an opposable thumb attached and Lucy is aiding and abetting my competitor? Just wondering…..

  24. Nice progress on inishmore.. love that laluz top!!! I really need to come to knithappens and pic some up(thinking of stopping when we go on vacation in july) Maybe I will get to meet you.

  25. 5-7 p.m.? I may have to show up to point and giggle. But that’s because that’s my job.

  26. I agree with LB I think Lucy is in cahoots with her Fancy Feast provider. Isn’t there a vet that does opposable thumb implants somewhere near Wendy’s workplace. LB you wanna borrow my parrot, he does amazing things with that beak I think he could be taught to knit.

  27. (bows down to the speed knitting prowess of Wendy)

  28. I am amazed (and intimidated) by how fast you knit. I’m also amazed by your knitting math discussion which went right over my head…probaby because I have not been brave enough to try an aran sweater. Lucy is adorable.

  29. Look how much you have done! Do you ever sleep?;-)

  30. HI Wendy,

    You and L-B are truely inspiring. It is amazing that knitting can accomplish so much for a worthy cause. I feel I have come full circle now- witnessing this speed knitting. I first met L-B when I was talked into judging the Nimble Fingers speed knitting challenge at the VA state fair. (Not to frighten you, but she took second ).

  31. Barbara says:

    i love watching your knitting progress. Alas, at the speed you’re knitting, this will be a short-lived pleasure.

  32. Oh, hello. L-B started with a sleeve? Don’t let that faze you Wendy!

    L-B, Wendy started with the back and she’s halfway done? Go, go, go!

    Hee hee!

  33. I know, MJ, isn’t that humiliating for me? I usually do a sleeve first,so we just kept to our usual routines. I’m on to the back now! ๐Ÿ˜‰ Rebekah-stop offering your parrot–I thought you were on my side! Tee hee!

  34. That is possibly the cutest pic of Lucy EVER. EVER. My cat Bob is doing a tribute to Lucy tomorrow. He has a big crush on her.

  35. Man, that Inish is a gorgeous pattern! I gotta knit me one of those. I wish the book weren’t so hard to come by cheaply. I know it’s worth it, I’m just broke. Nice job.

  36. Dear friend, I not long got back to my knitting/blogging/internet life, I asked my favorite group where your blog address was, I missed reading your news about your knitting and lucy. I am very happy to have your blogging life in mine again. I am a huge fan of yours. my baby (kitty may cat) says a meowing hello to lucy, she missed lucy too!
    hugs and love, annie and kitty

  37. Wow…all that progress when you can’t sleep. That’s pretty good! She looks great so far!

  38. Kate Lathrop says:

    I just love the expressions on your cat’s face! It makes for a good AM chuckle.